Those that just read my film reviews might not realize I have become equally invested in reviewing live theatre over the last 2 years. Once live theatre began again after the pandemic I made it my mission to support it as much as possible and I became a writer for Utah Theatre Bloggers Association and have my own site rachelsreviewstheatre.com. So it is exciting when my love of theater and film merge and a pro-shot or filmed play or musical is released in the cinemas. It’s even more exciting when it is based upon a book I love and adore (and one the previous film adaptation was underwhelming to say the least). This new release is The Hiding Place based on the incredible book by Corrie Ten Boom. It is a filmed play directed by Laura Matula (and stage director Matt Logan) and adapted by A.S. Peterson.
You can see The Hiding Place as part of a Fathom Event on August 3 and 5th. You can find more information on their website here. If you’ve never seen a filmed play it takes a little getting used to as the pacing and performances are a little different although they do what they can to make this production feel cinematic. The play was filmed and staged at the Soli Deo Center in Nashville in 2022 with a live audience and the large, textured sets add an immersive quality that draws you into the story. The costumes are also do a lot to convey tone especially when we get to the concentration camp scenes where everything becomes appropriately grim and hopeless (production and costume designer Matt Logan, wig and makeup Allison Hearn.) The use of lighting and music for a straight play is also very effective (lighting design Stephen Moss, music by Don Chaffer with additional film scoring by Anthony & Laura Matula.)
All that aside, the main strength with The Hiding Place is Corrie’s incredible story of faith in the hardest of times and the wonderful performances. I was moved to tears several times especially in the second act as Nan Arnold Gurley beautifully captures Corrie and her struggle to survive and then amazingly forgive during the horrors of the Holocaust. You can’t help but wonder: would I have the courage of Corrie?
One part that isn’t as impactful as in the book is Corrie’s sister Betsie. Carrie Tillis does a good job in the role. It’s just such a moving section of the book and her character is almost angelic in its goodness that it’s tricky to translate to the stage. The play is also a sprawling adaptation at 2 hr 33 minutes and it might have benefited from a trim-down focusing the majority of the time on the concentration camp scenes and less on the everyday life/hiding scenes.
Still, if The Hiding Place is playing near you I highly recommend this stirring night of theatre showcasing the best (and worst) of the human experience. It should inspire us all to be braver and forgive more (And then go read the book. It’s one of the best I’ve ever read).
7 out of 10
If you like what I do please consider supporting me on patreon. There’s some great perks and I sure appreciate it https://www.patreon.com/hallmarkies